Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Travel Bug

I love to travel. I only took a few trips as a child- usually to Disney World or other fun places like that (one year my dad drove us down the East Coast, stopping at all the amusement parks on the way- awesome trip). I think other than that I took a couple trips to PEI and one trip to the Dominican as a teenager. Even a trip to a cottage or camping (lots of those as a kid!) made me giddy for weeks. I even love packing (but not unpacking...). However, when I was 17 I went on a 2 week trip through Europe with my classmates and I think I caught a bad case of the travel bug!! I would share photos, but those were pre-digital days :)

During University I think I only went camping. Money was much tighter and suddenly there wasn't a parent paying for trips :). I certainly missed the traveling, but University was a lot of fun and I am sure I would never have had time anyway because I worked full time over the summer break. Right after University was over, 2 of my roommates and I celebrated with a LONG awaited trip back to Europe.

I could seriously go on for hours about this trip because everything was a disaster and we planned it so terribly. But now we just look back and laugh and laugh. We really did have so much fun, visiting Lucerne, Venica, Athens, Rome, and Paris. The flight and Eurorail pass were my graduation gift from my parents, but I still managed to spend every last penny of my savings on this trip!

After this trip (in Spring of 2008), I don't think I traveled anywhere crazy (there WERE lots of fun cottage and camping trips though!), until Jan 2011 when I convinced a girl I had only known for a couple months- or did she convince me?- to go to Cuba for a week! We had so much fun and thankfully are still friends to this day.

THEN, in the fall of 2011 I went BACK to Europe again, this time with my friend Jeni and her boyfriend (now husband!)! But I went to new countries this time- Germany, The Netherlands, and Belgium! We also did one day in Paris, but otherwise it was completely new experiences. Hello Oktoberfest! Yes, check that one off the ol Bucket List. It was soo much fun and I had learned from my last trip to Europe to plan so the trip was not stressful and full of great memories.

After this trip, it wasn't until the next fall that I traveled again- but by then I was blogging so you got to hear all about those shenangians:

Mexico City and Alcapulco (Part 1, 2, 3)
Chicago (I went in 2011 and 2013!)
Jamaica (Part 1, 2)
Fort Myers

The bug still hasn't settled- I am just itching to travel to new places as soon as the opportunity arises! In fact, I am off to MEXICO next week for another all-inclusive!! I know I have been super lucky to have been able to travel so much, but I wanted to share my tips for affording travel and feeding that travel bug.

1. Save Save Save
I never go into debt for a trip. I would only take one if I knew that it was something I could afford. For example, I would loooove to do Australia and New Zealand, but that is a lot of money and a lot of time off of work so I just don't feel it is feasible right now. Maybe when I retire I will do a big trip down under, like my mom did! There is no rush to see everything NOW.

I actually live very modestly (small home, no car, I don't buy lunch or get take out often, I don't drink much, no brand name purses etc) and this allows me more room in the budget for saving for trips.

2. Don't Rush
As per my last point, you don't need to cram tons of trips in when you are young. I try to take one big trip per year, and maybe a weekend trip here and there. Trips are expensive! It might seem like you should travel a lot before you have kids, but there is time after the kids have grown up too (not that you can't travel with kids, I have just heard this rumor that kids cost money!) 

3. Find Like-Minded Friends
I really wanted to travel in 2009 and 2010, but I didn't have any friends who could afford a trip so soon after University (and I myself was adjusting to a tight budget after buying the condo), so I just chose to go camping and cottaging. Thankfully I soon met some new friends who could afford the odd trip and now I am able to wrangle someone into a trip at least once a year!

4. Price It Out
You don't need to spend $2000 on a flight to Australia to have a good trip! Some of my best trips have been in North America! There are lots of great cities within a couple hours flight and you can easily spend a fun-packed weekend in each. I also recommend traveling during the off-season. We saved a bundle in Washington by visiting in the winter. Not to mention there are less lines at all the attractions! I also am not ashamed to stay in hostels and eat fast food for lunch (I try to only do dinners out at nicer places when I am traveling).

I will admit that going to Mexico over March break was NOT budget friendly, but one of my friends is a teacher and the trip was her idea so we couldn't kick her out :). However, we researched and found the best deal we could. It is a little off from the main area (Los Cabos), but hey- it has booze and beach so I think we will be just fine!

5. Plan It Out
By planning in advance you miss a lot of stress, AND you can find better deals! I often scour group-coupon sites like Groupon and Living Social to find deals on hotels, transportation, and attractions. I also research the area to find the cheapest ways to get around and restaurants that are within budget. It is also important to do lots of research before you book- when do flights go on sale, what is the weather like, where should I stay?

So there you go- a few trips for satisfying your own travel bug!! What was your favourite place to visit??


  1. In addition to finding like minded friends, traveling alone can be fun. Depends on the place but I did it in Australia, I feel like I'd still be waiting for someone to go on that trip with me. Have fun in Mexico. I'll be in NYC next week, not as warm but still fun :)

    1. Yes! I dont think I would like travelling alone (I need to talk about the things I experience!!), but there are also tour groups where you can make new friends while travelling! I havent tried any myself so I cant speak to them :)

      Yay NYC!! I have never been. sad. it's on the list

  2. I live to travel so I love this post! Wow, I can't believe you went to Cuba with someone you had only know for a couple months. It's so great that it worked out and you're still friends!

    1. Yup! Same girl I went to Mexico City with and that I am going to Los Cabos with next week!


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